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Sunday 17 December 2017

Man’s body was wrapped in duvet and concealed in wardrobe, murder trial told

Anne Sharkey

A garda has told the Central Criminal Court how he found the body of a man wrapped in a duvet and hidden in a wardrobe.

Detective Inspector Kevin Daly was giving evidence in the trial of a 35-year-old man charged with murdering Christopher Jackson (53) and concealing his body in a wardrobe.

Anthony Locke, from Prussia Street, Dublin 7, has pleaded not guilty to murdering Mr Jackson on the September 7, 2012.

Brother of the accused, Bernard Locke (41), from Ramillies Road in Ballyfermot, pleaded guilty earlier this week to the murder of Mr Jackson.

Conor Devally SC, prosecuting, confirmed with Det Insp Daly that it was a cousin of the accused that had first contacted gardai in relation to a phonecall from Bernard Locke asking him to help move the deceased.

“He was seeking to have the body moved from Prussia Street,” said Detective Daly.

Detective Daly then went to Prussia Street to search the premises of the flat in question.

“Bernard Locke was there. I asked him could we enter and said we believed there had been some sort of assault. Bernard expressed willingness for us to search his flat.”

Following another conversation with the cousin of the accused, Det Insp Daly returned to Prussia street to check the wardrobe in each of the three flats.

“When I first became aware of the wardrobe, I decided to contact Barbara Staunton [the partner of Christopher Jackson] – I could hear it [a mobile phone] ringing inside the flat.”

Having contacted the landlord, Det Insp Daly gained entry to Ms Staunton’s apartment.

“I told him [the landlord] we wanted to search wardrobes in all the flats.”

“I opened the wardrobe in the bedroom and inside was a package. It was a considerable weight and we believed it was the body – it was wrapped in a duvet."

A neighbour of the deceased, Deirdre Holton, told prosecution counsel that on the morning of September 7 she had seen the accused outside Barbara Staunton’s flat.

“I heard a noise and looked down – I saw Anthony moving kitchen furniture out of the kitchen into the yard. I was a little bit surprised and said ‘what are you doing’. He said ‘I’m on a mad cleaning buzz – just giving Barbara a hand cleaning the flat’.”

“He seemed under the influence of something - probably alcohol.

“Twenty minutes or half an hour later I heard him putting the furniture back into the kitchen – there was no sign of him having company at that time.”

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, continues before Mr Justice Garrett Sheehan and a jury of three women and nine men.

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